Howland selectman ‘eager’ to keep working for town

Posted June 10, 2009, at 11:07 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:17 p.m.

HOWLAND, Maine — Michael Harris thought he might win, but he didn’t expect to be a leading vote-getter.

“I’m just happy, eager to continue working for the best interests of the town,” the 52-year-old general contracting company owner said.

Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Harris was re-elected during town elections held Tuesday with 126 votes, one better than newly elected Selectwoman Nancy Osborne, who had 125.

Rick Thompson Jr. was the final candidate to win a seat on the board, earning 106 votes, while incumbent Selectman Leeman King was defeated in his bid for re-election, garnering 84 votes, according to vote totals compiled at the town office after the daylong election.

Judith Coffin was re-elected with 43 votes to the board of directors of SAD 31, which serves the schools of Burlington, Edinburg, Enfield, Howland, Maxfield and Passadumkeag. Her seat was the only one up for election.

Brian Artes and King each received single write-in votes for the SAD 31 board. Residents Richard Merrill; John A. Neel, chairman of the SAD 31 board; Carrol Theriault; William Levielle, Thomas Andrus; and Coffin received single write-in votes for the Board of Selectmen, town officials said.

The selectmen were elected to two-year terms. School board terms are three years.

Harris said he has a lot to look forward to, including the town cooperating with Penobscot River Restoration Trust efforts to install a fish bypass in the Penobscot River and save the connected dam, a new bridge due to go over the river, and the trust and the town working on revitalizing the blighted site of the former Howland Tannery.

All of those efforts will be finished or well under way by the end of 2011.

The revitalization of the tannery, long seen as a symbol of the town’s stagnant economy, will be especially pleasing, Harris said.

“It will open quite a bit of land,” he said. “Just what kind of development it will [lead to], I don’t know yet.”

One drawback to the plan: The relocation of the electricity generator within the dam will cost the town heavily in tax revenue, Harris said. “We have to find a way to replace that money,” he said.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. June 22 to elect new officers and be sworn in, he said.

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